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Norfolk emergency response personnel asking residents to only call 911 for ‘true emergencies’

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NORFOLK, Neb. (KTIV) -- Norfolk Fire & Rescue says they are experiencing a large uptick in COVID-related calls, causing them to ask residents to be more mindful when calling 911.

In a press release, Fire Chief Scott Cordes said October was the busiest single month in the 136-year history of the department, mostly due to COVID-19.

Chief Cordes says these calls for service have put a significant strain on emergency response personnel and have presented them with challenges unlike any the department has seen before.

"Many times all of our ambulances are on active calls at the same time exhausting all shift personnel, leaving both stations empty with no one to take the next call," said Cordes in a press release.

In response to this, the fire department is asking all Norfolk residents to do their part in reducing the chances of transmission of the virus. They are asking residents to be diligent in the use of masks, handwashing and social distancing when appropriate.

"I think it is fair to say we were all hoping the coronavirus would be long gone by now, and that life would be substantially back to normal. Unfortunately, that is not the case. At no time since COVID-19 arrived, has its presence been more profound right here in Norfolk," said Cordes.

Residents are also being asked to use good judgment when calling 911 and requesting ambulance transport to the hospital.

"Knowing how strained the response capability is becoming, we are asking all citizens to truly call only for true emergencies, and be aware, that delays may occur when all of our apparatus and personnel are otherwise engaged in other calls," said Cordes.

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Dean Welte

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